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MasterCard Merchant Glossary

mastercard Merchant Glossary of Terms

The Internet is truly reshaping the way we do business. Boundaries disappear. Size no longer determines success. And opportunities are virtually limitless.

Recognizing the potential for both cardholders and merchants, MasterCard has taken a leadership role, working to ensure that shopping on the Internet will be as convenient and as safe as shopping at the local market or corner store.

Here are some definitions of terms which you may find helpful when reviewing your relationship with MasterCard.


Annual Fee: Various card issuers charge an annual fee, which can help offset costs that issuers incur in maintaining accounts.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Sometimes also called the interest rate. The yearly interest rate or percentage that one pays on an outstanding balance in the form of interest.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM): Allows customers to perform banking transactions anywhere and at anytime. By using a debit or ATM card at an ATM, individuals can withdraw cash from checking or savings accounts, make a deposit or transfer money from one account to another or perform other functions. You can also get cash advances using a credit card at an ATM. Individuals should also be aware that many banks charge transaction fees -generally ranging from 50 cents to $3 per transaction - for using another bank's ATM.


The process of moving an unpaid credit card balance from one issuer to another.


Cash Advance: A borrower may obtain cash on the spot by using their card at a bank or an ATM. The amount of the cash advance is deducted from your available credit line or funds on deposits. A fee is often charged when obtaining cash advances. In addition, the interest rate is usually higher than on purchases and there is typically no grace period. (A cash advance is different from a withdrawal you make with your ATM card.)

Concierge Services: Concierge Services* provides eligible premium MasterCard® cardholders access to comprehensive personal assistance via telephone or Internet-including restaurant reservations, tickets to popular cultural and sporting events, personal shopping, tee times, business services, travel destination support, a free special occasion reminder service, and a host of other services. In the United States, Concierge Services is a mandated privilege for the World MasterCard® Card, MasterCard Executive BusinessCard Card®, and MasterCard Corporate Executive Card®. Other premium programs can participate, at the issuer's discretion and expense.

Conditions and restrictions apply

* Concierge Services is a feature provided to you by your card issuer. MasterCard's role in Concierge Services is to provide access to these services on behalf of your card issuer. Your participation in Concierge Services, and information collected in connection with your participation, is governed by your cardholder agreement with your issuer and your issuer's applicable privacy policy. MasterCard may also use third parties to provide Concierge Services, and such third parties will only use any information about you as necessary to provide you the services you request.

Credit History: Record of how a consumer has paid accounts in the past, used as a guide to determine whether the consumer is likely to pay accounts on time in the future.

Credit Line/ Line of Credit: Also referred to as your credit limit. This is the maximum amount you can borrow using your card.


Extended Warranty: Extend the life of your purchase. With this program you can double the U.S. manufacturer's or store brand warranty's period protection. This is an insurance program, certain restrictions and exclusions apply. Please refer to the Guide to Benefits for a full program description.


Finance Charges: The price paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money. Interest is charged as a percentage of your outstanding balance (purchases and charges reduced by payments or credits posted). This percentage, or interest rate, can vary from card to card.

Fixed Rate: A set APR that does not change in response to interest rate changes and conditions. A Variable Rate periodically goes up or down based on fluctuations in market interest rates as reflected in a published index (e.g., the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal).


Grace Period: A period of time -usually 20-25 days -when you're not charged interest for purchases you've made. For example, if the billing date on your credit card bill is May 1 and you have paid your prior balance in full, you may have until May 20 to pay your new balance in full. If you do, you will not be charged interest. If your payment arrives after May 20 -or if you don't pay the entire balance -you may be charged interest from the date of purchase as posted. Some accounts have no grace period, which means interest is charged on purchases from the date they are posted.

Guide to Benefits: Detailed information (.pdf) on card benefits. Click here to view card type downloads.


The time period during which the Introductory Rate applies to balances outstanding on your account.

Introductory Rate: A special APR that applies for only a limited period of time. Sometimes also called a teaser rate.


MasterRental® Insurance Coverage: MasterRental Insurance may help you avoid the additional cost that rental agencies charge you for theft and collision damage coverage on the rental car. When you pay for the entire rental transaction with your eligible MasterCard card, you may be covered for up to $50,000 without the additional expense that the rental agency charges. This is an insurance program, certain restrictions and exclusions apply. Please refer to the Guide to Benefits for a full program description.

Master RoadAssist® Roadside Service: Protect yourself on the road. If your car breaks down, just call 1-800-MC-ASSIST for emergency roadside assistance (U.S. travel only). Emergency services or repairs will be automatically billed to your Platinum or Gold MasterCard account. MasterRoad Assist benefits do not include emergency towing service fees. Other conditions and restrictions apply.

MasterCard Global Service®: For 24-hour customer service, just call 1-800-307-7309 for assistance. You can report a lost or stolen card, request a cash advance or simply find out information. Outside the, please call directory assistance for the MasterCard Global Service number. With this service, you can call toll-free from over 75 countries worldwide.

Merchant: Location or store where purchases are made.


No Preset Spending Limit: No Preset Spending Limit rewards consumers who have established a good credit history. The card's spending limit is not predetermined. Instead, it is set by the card's issuer, based on account history, spending patterns, payment history and other personal variables.


Online Banking: Online systems allow customers to plug into a host of banking services from a personal computer by connecting with the bank's computers over the Internet.

Overdraft: When the amount of a paid check or other withdrawal exceeds the available balance in a checking account (can result in fees).


PIN: Personal Identification Number. Secret code you choose for your card that enables you to access your money or perform banking transactions through the ATM as well as make purchases without signing a sales receipt at merchants that have PIN pads. Your PIN should not be shared with anyone.

Purchase Assurance®: Many new purchases are covered against theft or damage for a full 90 days from the date of purchase. This is an insurance program, certain restrictions and exclusions apply. Please refer to the Guide to Benefits for a full program description.


Rewards Program: A point accumulating program based on purchases or transactions made on your card. These points can be redeemed for the particular program you enrolled in (e.g. airline, gasoline, etc.) Banks may charge annual fees to participate in a a rewards program.


Secured Cards: Secured cards are a great first step for those with little or no credit history. This type of card requires that a security deposit be made in order to establish a credit line. Your credit line will typically be equal to the amount of your deposit.


Travel Assistance Services: Access helpful information on travel requirements including documentation (visas, passports), immunizations or currency exchange rates. Enrollment is automatic for eligible cardholders and the assistance service is free to cardholders.

Travel Rewards: The MasterCard Travel Rewards program is designed for people on the go. Earn points toward free travel on any airline, without blackout periods. The rewards grow with every dollar you spend.

*Rewards program with no black-out dates: Certain conditions and restrictions apply. Member programs may contain single airline only.


Worldwide Acceptance: With more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants.


Zero Liability: Pay only for purchases which you have authorized on your MasterCard card. So long as your account is in good standing, you have exercised reasonable care in safeguarding your card, and you have not reported two or more unauthorized events in the past twelve months, unauthorized purchases are not your responsibility.





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